At 2pm today, we reached 21 years together. We were 21 when we got married, so every minute from now on is a minute longer than we ever lived without each other. It has been difficult, dreamy, wonderful and wild. Our friendship has been the tie that binds when love fails. Love has been the tie that binds when friendship fails. Trust has been the unbroken thread that braids friendship and love together. We've had moments when we wanted to quit but we never gave up. A promise is a promise. I'm still glad I said "I do" to this young man, even though I didn't know then what I know now.
You're everything I ever needed, and I have never met anyone I want more.
All fall and winter, our 15-year-old daughter worked on an exciting trip...to dance on the waterfront stage in Downtown Disney at DisneyWorld in Orlando, a priviledge extended only to those dance companies who audition and are invited.
It's a big deal.
We drove hundreds of miles for practices and rehearsals, paid hundreds of dollars, massaged muscles, rubbed sore feet, thought positive thoughts when teachers were negative, pushed through blood sugar issues, ate mini meals to keep energy up...and it was going to be The Trip of a Lifetime.
The teachers were stressy, the stage was slippery, dancers tumbled, shoes fell off, and one dancer came even though she was ill with a stomach virus..and it spread through the group like wildfire, to our gal, too. (don't, don't, don't, please don't send your kid to an event while ill)
Life isn't nice.
Well, lots of times.
When she spent Monday in a hotel while the other dancers were enjoying DisneyWorld's Magic Kingdom, life was not nice. It was not nice when I spent 48 hours waiting up, worrying, texting, calling, wondering, praying. I'm not normally a paranoid mother, but our gal has problems keeping her blood sugar stable, so this illness could not be a more dangerous one to her (please, please don't send your ill kid to an event).
I wish I had a "but this is why it was worth it" thing to say, but I don't. I just don't. At this point, one week from that awful Monday, and now that she is well enough for me to get away to think, I still can't reach the conclusion that the trip was worth it. It really wasn't worth the money we didn't have but put into it anyway, and it wasn't worth the hours upon hours of rehearsals and driving, and it wasn't worth the stress and worry over whether or not we should take her to the hospital.
And so, when you're a mom, what do you say to a kid when something so wonderful fails so miserably?
I'm not sure.
And so I said, "Wow, yeah, life sure isn't nice sometimes. Want to have a movie marathon?"
I have never in my life known busyness as I know it now. As of yesterday, we have three teenagers in the house. No, don't say you're sorry. I absolutely love teens; in fact, they're in my favorite childhood stage so far as a mom.
But this is also the most exhausting stage. As I type, at nearly 2am, one of them is still up. And one goes to work at 7am. I drive 40-90 miles per weekday to take one to basketball, one to dance, one to work, two to wind ensemble, three to archery...and so on.
I miss nap times and early bedtimes. Oh, how I miss those free moments.
But I would never go back, for I love the moments now. Yesterday, the same day our third child turned into a teenager, our 17-year-old went across the state line with Dad and came home with this....
I am so proud of him. He patiently waited for just the type of car he wanted (something classic) and, when he found it, he paid for it with his own cash.
I have so many words in my head, so much I want to write, so many crafts I want to stitch or purl, books I want to read, flowers I'd like to plant, but right now...I'm busy investing in three teens who are on the very edge of going out into the world - one in a 1962 Mercury Monterey.
“Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being 'in love' which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Those that truly love, have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.”
― Louis de Bernières, Captain Corelli's Mandolin*
p.s. This is us, 20 years of marriage into the thick of it. "It's inconceivable that we should ever part."
*I haven't read this book, so I'm not necessarily recommending it. I just like this quote.
When our kids say something negative about a sibling, they have to then say three positive things about that person. Tim (the hubs) was giving me a hard time about something or other recently -- it wasn't a serious offense - he was joking - but it was just enough for me to say, "You have to say something positive about me now! No, wait, write it for all to see."
Fifteen years ago, I was twenty-something. My life was full -- we had a two year old boy with bowl-cut light brown hair, and I'd just delivered the most beautiful black-haired, light-skinned, rosy-lipped little girl the world has ever seen. She was Snow White in person.
A few hours after bringing her into the world, while still in the hospital, I collapsed in the shower. Blood surrounded me, my body was shutting down, my blood pressure plummeted. I saw the infamous white light.
Someone shouted. Hurried footsteps. The nurse's aide who found me panicked, nurses came, two doctors ran - one from his office, one from the emergency room - to see who would get there first, the head nurse told me to focus on her eyes -- I remember her face clearly; I thought she was my dark-skinned, brown-eyed angel.
She blurred and disappeared. Falling, falling, falling, falling....letting go of all but a thread.
A bit of sadness: his graduation, her wedding day.
Overwhelming peace. Peace and clarity of thought: I was okay with this.
Grateful. My baby was healthy. I was the one hurt; she wasn't.
Thankful. I'd given my husband a little boy and a little girl. They could only improve this world.
At some point, God said "not yet," and the doctors and nurses won the battle. I could see again. I searched for my husband. His panicked face is another image I will not forget.
I was too weak to hold my baby; it took weeks to make more blood so I could be strong again. But I survived and I did grow strong enough to enjoy her little girl years, her awkward stage, and now her teen years.
One thing has remained true for 15 years: I'm grateful and thankful for my baby girl.
In April, our family was invited to attend the 2012 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. That big title also means, to us, "A whole lotta fun and wonderful memories."
My parents joined in our memory-making, and my husband opted out of going, so it was: Our 16yo son, 14yo daughter, 12 yo son, 9 yo daughter, Nana, Popo and me.
Soon, I want to write a post of tips for your family's Disney trip, but first, here are a few of our memories, taken from my iPhone camera:
Disclosure: I was invited to the 2012 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration conference. My travel and expenses were heavily subsidized as part of this program, however I was not specifically asked to share anything with my readers about the conference or anything related to Disney. I am doing this on my own accord. All opinions are my own.
If you'd like to use any of the photos and writings on the site, I'm blushing. I'd love an email first if you don't mind: firstname.lastname@example.org. This website's content is copyright protected, but I'm not stingy, so please ask away!